Stan Kroenke takes control of Arsenal
LONDON -- Arsenal has received approval from the Premier League for American Stan Kroenke to take control of the club.
Kroenke, who also owns the NFL's St. Louis Rams, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, gained a controlling stake in the London club by buying shares from fellow directors and launched a mandatory takeover bid that values the club at $1.2 billion.
"The club is very pleased to announce that the Premier League Board has confirmed that the change of control processes under the rules of the Premier League have been concluded to its satisfaction in relation to Stan Kroenke's control of the club," Arsenal chairman Peter Hill Wood said in a statement on Saturday.
Kroenke, who first bought shares in Arsenal in four years ago, has raised his stake to 66.06 percent and the remaining shareholders have another two weeks to accept his offer of 11,750 pounds per share.
"As the controlling shareholder of Arsenal Football Club, it will always be our intention to do what's necessary to assure success on the pitch, provide long-term stability and build on the accomplishments and history of the club," Kroenke said in Arsenal's statement Saturday. "We will continue to grow the club's presence globally while also adhering to the club's self-sustaining economic model. The club has funds to invest and will do so wisely."
Fans have been calling for significant funds to be spent to strengthen a side that has just ended a sixth successive season without a trophy and finished fourth in the Premier League.
"Our constant aim will be to compete for silverware and championships," Kroenke said. "The long-term health of the club is of utmost importance."
Kroenke was obliged to launch a full takeover bid by taking his stake over the 30 percent threshold with the purchase of shares from the estate of late director Danny Fiszman, who died last month, and former director Lady Nina Bracewell Smith.
But Arsenal's second-largest shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, is continuing to buy shares in the club. Through investment vehicle Red and White Holdings, the Russian's stake reached 28 percent on Friday.
Unlike Kroenke, Usmanov has never been invited onto the board of directors at Arsenal.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press